It was close to 2:30pm and the whole family was anxiously awaiting Elder Jenson's phone call from Chile. Elder Jenson had told us in his weekly letter that he would only be able to call not skype on Mother's Day. At 2:56pm Tallyn noticed that Elder Jenson was online (I had Trevor set up his computer just in case!). We all gathered around the computer to read the following message..."wait just a few minutes." The family waited patiently with all 10 eyes glued to the computer until Elder Jenson popped onto the computer screen.....
"Happy Mother's Day Mom!"
Tears, smiles and excitement filled our home as we saw Elder Jenson for the first time in 5 months. As you can see Elder Jenson had to put in earplugs so he wouldn't bother the Valdez family who are members in his current ward he and Elder Rodriguez met this week while out teaching lessons. Elder Jenson asked the Valdez family if he and Elder Rodriguez could come to their home today after church to skype his family and they said yes. Love the members in El Salto Chile!
The following is a recap of our Mother's Day Call with Elder Jenson....
There are 70-75 members currently in Elder Jenson's home ward in El Salto.
Elder Jenson lives on the 3rd floor of his department building and sleeps in the living room. When we asked Elder Jenson why he doesn't sleep in the bedroom, he replied, "we all want to sleep together so we brought the two sets of bunkbeds out into the living room so we can be together." ( Elder Jenson, Elder Rodriguez, Elder Shelley and Elder Xavier all live in the same department).
When we asked Elder Jenson how many investigators he and Elder Rodriguez were able to find this week he replied,"8 and we have two with a baptismal date of May 26th!"
Elder Jenson says he likes to play a game called "BABY" on his P-days (it's like soccer).
"There are more dogs than people in Chile!"
Elder Jenson mentioned that the companion he loved working with was Elder Millan when they were in Independencia. Elder Jenson said, "Elder Millan and I got along so well together. We could have fun and joke and also worked hard and accomplished a lot. Elder Millan knows how to teach and taught me so much."
Elder Jenson and Elder Millan companions in Independencia
When we asked if there was a post office in El Salto Elder Jenson replied,"No, if I want to go to a post office I have to ask President Essig for permission and take my whole P-day to go into Santiago. That's the reason you don't get alot of handwritten letters."
We asked Elder Jenson what his favorite area is that he's served in....he replied, "Vespucio for sure!"
We were a little surprised as this is the area that Elder Jenson was robbed, was attacked by Chilean gansters who aren't kind and who carry knives and guns and was mocked and threatened. Elder Jenson continued, "I loved the members especially Sergio." Elder Jenson is excited to hear about Sergio and Susana's baptisms today from Elder Cambroni who stayed in Vespucio.
Elder Jenson commented that visiting the Santiago temple was awesome! He understood different things in Spanish than when he went to the temple before his mission and that everything is in (vosotros) like the scriptures.
Elder Jenson and Zone Zapadores at the Santiago Chile Temple
Chileans eat tomatoes all the time. "One of my favorite Chilean foods is "As" which is meat in a hotdog bun with avacado, mayo and tomato. I love them! I also love empanadas and yes now I like tomatoes!"
Chilean As sandwich...yum!
"The weather is getting cooler...it was in the 50's today and I'm wearing a light jacket."
When we asked if the CSN missionaries do anything to celebrate their 1 year mark Elder Jenson replied, "I'm going to burn a white shirt!" *May 30, 2013 marks Elder Jenson's 1 year mark as a CSN missionary!
Elder Jenson's favorite treat to receive in the mail is a Reese's peanut butter cup!
"Chilean Mother's Day is on May 10th (Friday) but they celebrate it commercially today on Sunday like the rest of the world."
"When Elder Rodriguez and I arrived in El Salto on Monday, we had 4 investigator names on our board...1 was baptized, 1 was a life-long investigator, 1 we don't know where they live and the other investigator Elder Rodriguez and I were able to give a lesson to this week."
"We have 5 Sister Trainer Leaders in our mission now for 50 Sister missionaries who's main responsibility is to excite and lead the influx of Sister Missionaries. When we meet as Zone Leaders, it's called Leadership Counsel not Zone Counsel now. We have our first Leadership Counsel this coming Thursday."
"Elder Rodriguez, myself, President Essig and the Stake President in our Stake in the area I'm serving in met this morning at 8am. Elder Rodriguez and I had to get up an hour early and take a taxi to the Mission Office (cost us 9 bucks) to meet them where we went over our struggling area and made a plan on key indicators for baptisms, progressing members and such. President Essig told Elder Rodriguez and I we were doing well in our first week of "opening the sector"."
When we asked Elder Jenson an experience that impacted him significantly in his mission he replied,"When Sergio and Danitza got married."
Elder Jenson, Danitza, baby Matias and Sergio
"Elder Cambroni and I were there through the whole process. We went with them to get the hour, date and time of their marriage and I was even the videographer of their wedding ceremony. It was a really special day. Sergio had been to church 15 times in a row. Best teaching moment was my first lesson with Sergio and Danitza where we were able to connect in a more personal level and help and share experiences of lifes challenges we both had faced and overcome. Sergio wrote in my journal last week before I left that it was this very day that he felt joy and happiness and knew he wanted to get baptized."
When we asked Elder Jenson some things he's learned on his mission he replied, "I honestly left like I didn't know anything before my mission. I read my scriptures, prayed and went to church but really didn't understand a lot. I did it because I knew it was right. Now I understand more and know the importance of reading, praying and attending church, partaking of the sacrament, the importance of the spirit and following it. The spirit in church is incredible. I have a testimony of service and now want to serve all the time and look for ways to serve. Service is now from my heart. I've developed a love for the people of Chile and gospel. I look at life like "what can I do" and always try to "SEE THE NEED" as dad says. I've also learned how to teach and communciate with people. I felt like I was fluent in Spanish after 2 1/2 to 3 months after I arrived in Chile and felt confidence in teaching when I was made a Sr. companion. I use the lessons I learned at home in my teachings I give. All the teachings I've been taught have stuck with me. I couldn't be successful on my mission without you guys behind me. I love you!"
As we closed our converstion with Elder Jenson he said, "It's not an option to not go on a mission....it's training for your life!"
Trevor spent a minute talking to Elder Rodriguez and then to the Valdez family in Spanish thanking them for allowing Elder Jenson to skype from their home and wished Sister Valdez a Happy Mother's Day... "Dia de la Madre Feliz".
Each family member then shared some last thoughts and "I love you's" before saying VIA CON DIOS Elder Jenson! (God be with you!)
Elder Rodriguez and Elder Jenson then waved good-bye before heading out to share their gospel message with the people of El Salto Chile!